The Corner

Gregg: The Real Costs of ReidCare

Sen. Judd Gregg (R., N.H.) on the Senate floor earlier today:

My colleagues on the other side of the aisle continue to claim this bill costs about $800 billion. That’s the number they say has been reached as the expenditure on this bill. Ladies and gentlemen, that is a totally dishonest number. That is the ultimate shell game. That is Washington cynical politics. You know how they get to that number? Which is a ten-year number, by the way. How they get to this number of $800 billion as the cost of this bill, which, by the way, that’s a lot of money, $800 billion. That would run the state of New Hampshire for, I don’t know, probably 100 years. Literally almost 100 years.  It would run Missouri, a bigger state, for a while. Probably run Alabama for a little while, too. South Dakota could run for 200 years, for all I know.

It’s a lot of money, $800 billion-plus. But that is not the cost of this bill. The way that number was arrived at was that they don’t start spending money on this bill until the fourth or the fifth year. They couldn’t get the score they wanted from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), so they changed the starting point. They moved back another year in the ten-year cycle. They went from four years to five years as to the starting point of most of the spending in this bill. What they claim to the American people is that a ten-year bill is going to cost about $800-plus billion.

What they don’t tell the American people is they’re not spending anything in the first four or five years of the bill. No. They do raise your taxes throughout the ten-year period. They do cut Medicare throughout the ten-year period. But they don’t spend the money. They don’t start the spending programs until the year 2014, when this bill is fully phased in, when all these new programs, these massive expansion of entitlements are created, these brand-new entitlements. When all this new spending occurs, this bill will cost $2.5 trillion over that ten-year period. $2.5 trillion. That’s the real cost of this bill. That’s how big this government is going to grow in a ten-year window as a result of this spending.